No to a Pseudo-Islamic REPUBLIC
in Northern Sudan
by Badreldin Yousif Dafallah Elsimat
Badreldin Centre for Taweel Studies (Montreal, Canada) declares an intellectual and peaceful campaign against the formation of an Islamic Republic in the Northern Sudan,
and in particular in the Blue Nile State.
In the last few weeks, Mr. Omer Al Bashir, the President of Northern Sudan, has publicly delivered fiery and angry speeches, declaring that:
· He is determined to form an Islamic Government in Northern Sudan that does not recognize ethnic and cultural differences.
· He alleges that he has the support of 90% of the Northern Sudanese population, and that he is able to brutally crush down the opposition, which he has irresponsibly referred to as “ants”.
· He will revive and maintain all the glories of Islam through bloodshed.
· He will strictly apply penalties in accordance with Shari’a (Islamic law), including “whipping”, “flogging”, and “amputation of hands & feet on opposite sides”.
Al Bashir Regime: A Threat to the Unity of Northern Sudan
In a country in which the cultural dynamics are woven into a fabric of ethnic and religious diversity, such hot tempered and false passionate rhetoric uttered by Mr. Bashir threatens the unity of the people of Northern Sudan. It is to be remembered that the present regime, during the early years of its coup d’état, fueled and complicated the long age war in Southern Sudan. Through exploitation of religious enthusiasm, superficial understanding and false promises of paradise, Mr. Bashir and his Islamic militias declared Jihad against the people of the south. The Jihadists used the resources of the people of Sudan and the Sudanese national army to fight fierce battles and kill an uncountable number of Sudanese citizens in the name of religion.
It goes without saying that the Jihad had muddled the already complex political, economical and social problems of Sudan. Moreover, the unwarranted discriminatory policies of the present regime created an unhealthy atmosphere for what could have been an otherwise attractive unity. In addition, the present regime did not act in good faith to honour the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and instead followed malicious and crooked tactics when dealing with Southerners. Such wrong and immoral attitudes lead to immense mistrust and unbridgeable gaps between the north and the south. Therefore, it was quite natural for the people of the south to vote unanimously for the separation from the north, in the referendum held last January.
On the other hand, the people of the north were watching helplessly. They neither declared nor terminated the Jihad, yet they were its victims!! At the end of the day, they lost a third of their great people and rich land. To add insult to the injury, Bashir’s regime was boasting that his government succeeded to divide the country and had torn it apart, smoothly, gently, peacefully and without any problems.
It is high time for the people of Northern Sudan to beware and be alert. They should rise up in wakeful solidarity to regain their freedom, justice, and equality. If they did not unite to keep a tight rein on the horses of Islamic Fundamentalism, President Bashir’s false slogans will have grave and far reaching consequences. His risky policies will definitely lead the country to more fragmentation and—God forbids—to a catastrophic end.
President Bashir’s slogans should be examined carefully and we should not slur over them. They have to be taken seriously, because it is highly probable that they may be put into action.
People should not forget that the existing regime is originally a bloody and deceptive regime, which killed mercilessly, tortured cruelly, whipped women and humiliated the people of Sudan. It has a huge record of inflicting inhuman and degrading treatment. It is a regime which does not shy away from violating any moral principle to achieve and maintain its grip on power and authority.
It is noteworthy to mention that a few days ago, a criminal court in the city of Nyala (Darfur Region) had passed a sentence to cut off the hands & feet of a convict!! This may be only the beginning of religious hallucination.
The current regime’s claim that it is applying the Qu’ran is a Mockery of all religious Principles
The Islamists of the present regime adopted a wicked and selective method to control the masses in the name of the Qu’ran. They have chosen a few Qu’ranic verses and applied them out of their context to achieve and maintain their political goals. They intentionally disregarded, ignored and disobeyed thousands of Qu’ranic verses that do not suit their purposes.
First of all, it is of utmost importance to state that the Qu’ran is neither a penal code, nor a constitution. It is spiritual revelations inspired to the prophet. The Qu’ranic literature is one of the most refined and polished literatures world over, in form as well as in substance. The great prophet of Islam was eloquent, talented, and blessed with faculties of the highest order.
The Qu’ranic visions are unfathomable. From picturesque descriptions of nature to the deepest of human emotions, from the heights of divinity to a complete unity with God, the peak of the Qu’ran is devoid of all dogmas and rituals. It is heart and mind in its purest state and pristine glory, surrending to almighty God. This is intrinsically the true and correct meaning of the word Islam.
Secondly, Qu’ranic verses throw light upon:
A- Description of hell and paradise.
B- Stories of the great prophets from the immemorial time of Adam and Eve.
C- Moral directives and noble qualities like wisdom, patience, surrender to the will of God, service, kindness, perfection, purity, sincerity, devotion, straightforwardness, forgiveness, peace and love.
D- The life of the prophet, his teaching and his works, mainly his relationship with the people, his disciples, his family and relatives. Ultimately, some verses shed light on the prophet’s relations with God and sacred heavens.
E- Angels, jins and devils.
F- Many Qu’ranic verses are narrations of contemporary incidents that occurred during the reign of the prophet, to his good self, his disciples and his enemies.
G- Many verses are narrations of the stories of the ancient nations like Aad and Thamood.
H- Some verses are simply the Arabic alphabet: ا لم ن ق
Given the fact that these verse evidently do not bear relations to the state, government, law or the constitution, what remains for the Islamist False state? Only few verses are left.
It is really shocking to notice that the Islamists of Sudan played their political tricks on the few remaining verses. They only applied or misapplied few out the few, in the following examples:
- Their Penal code provides Capital Punishment for apostates even if the accused is over seventy years old. This provision was carefully drafted in order to intimidate intellectuals and get rid of thoughtful people who are capable of revealing their deception. Let us recall the Nimeri Regime, when the great Sudanese thinker al Ustadh Mahmoud Mohamad Taha was publicly hanged on January 18, 1985, after being convicted for apostacy in an unfair trial in which political conspiracies mocked all principles of justice. It should be stressed that in 1985 the Sudanese penal code did not provide for the punishment of apostate, which insinuates that the present regime is attempting to legalize retrospectively illegal acts of their predecessor Nimeri.
- Their Penal Code contained degrading punishments, like whipping, amputation of hands and feet on opposite sides and crucifixion. They have intentionally chosen such inhuman penalties in order to humiliate and control the masses.
- The 2005 Constitution, created two legal systems; one in the north (Shari’a and Islamic) and the other in the south (Civil and Secular). In this way, the regime was paving the way, knowingly or unknowingly for the separation of the south. On what basis did the Islamist elect not to apply Islamic law on the third of the population? If they are truthful to their claim that Islamic law is a just and fair law, why did they not accepted to apply it in the south?
- The 2005 Constitution, as well as the 1998 Constitution, provided for freedom of religion in accordance with the law. When taken on their face values, these Constitutions seem equitable. However, when one closely examines the term in accordance with the law, a loophole is discovered. Since the Shari’a is the main source of the law, the Islamists in power can take by the left hand what the Constitution has given by the right hand. Under the cloak of the Shari’a, they can pass legislation to restrict the freedom of religion and punish what the so-called apostates. Thus, they can intimidate political opponents, accuse them of changing their religion and subject them to capital punishment. In essence, there is no freedom of religion.
On the other hand, the Islamists of Sudan intentionally neglected the application of the few remaining verses in the following examples:
- Both 1998 & 2005 Constitution did not state Islam as a condition for eligibility to hold the office of the President of their Islamic Republic. How can a Christian apply their Islamic laws? This is mere cheating!
- They neglected to abide by the Shari’a rule that the testimony of two women is equal to the testimony of one man, in order to cope with the modern age. They even appointed women as judges. Since under Shari’a law a woman cannot be a witness, on what basis did the Islamists make her a judge? Never at the time of the prophet and his disciples was a woman appointed as a judge. It never happened during all the periods of the Umayyad dynasty, Abbasid dynasty, fatimieen of Egypt and the Turkish Empire.
- One is puzzled or rather shocked to notice that the 1998 Constitution stated that God is the all-ruling in their state (al-hakiemiya lilah (الحاكمية لله, while in the 2005 Constitution, they have stated that the 2005 Constitution is the all-ruling (al-hakemia lil dastur !(الحاكمية للدستور In other words, they equated God with this false Constitution!! This is mere wicked politics and has nothing to do with any moral or religious principles.
- The 1998 constitution abolished slavery in order to cope with the modern age. The Institution of Slavery and Slave Trade was recognized and practiced at the time of the Prophet and his successors. All ancient legal systems had known and recognized the Institution of Slavery. No Islamic jurist had protested against this institution all through Islamic history, until Slave Trade was abolished in the nineteen century by the Slave Trade Abolition Act of 1833 and some previous enactments and regulations.
- The Islamists of the present regime intentionally neglected to apply the Gezya (الجزية), which is a monetary punishment imposed on Christians and Jews. The Islamist did so in order to cope with the modern age, and also deceive the people of southern Sudan. However, this trick had failed because many Southerns are able read Arabic and are aware of the Gezya. The Gezya with all its humiliating attributes was applied all through Islamic history. It was only abolished in 1856 under heavy European pressure on the Islamic Sultan of Turkey.
It is to be noted that Jihad, discrimination against women, slavery, gezya (monetary punishment against Jews and Christians) are all transitional and temporary measures which are abolished by virtue of Taweel Al-Qu’ran. Taweel Al-Quran is an insight and mechanism in the Qu’ran to go beyond its words to the origin of the Qu’ran which is peace, love, and equality at the abode of God. This notion elevates the words of the Qu’ran to unparallel levels of metaphor and symbolism, second to none. Taweel is fully explained in other articles.
The Idea Of An Islamic State is a false & baseless Idea
As was indicated earlier, the Qu’ran is neither a constitution nor a law. Moreover, the Prophet of Islam never assumed or looked upon himself as a statesman or a politician. He stated explicitly that he was given the option to be a prophet and a King, or a prophet and Slave to Allah. He has chosen to be a prophet and slave of Allah.
The Prophet did not build state institutions or even humble institutions. This occurrence is not due to his lack of knowledge of state building. He was after all fully aware of what was going on in the Byzantine Empire, Persian Empire and the Ethiopian Empire. The Prison of Pharaoh is mentioned in the Qu’ran. The prophet himself visited Syria. In spite of his extensive knowledge, he never appointed ministers, regulated finance, never instructed courts, nor even built a prison, which implicitly demonstrates that state building was not part of his religious agenda.
To further argue that the idea of an Islamic state is baseless, I would like to draw the attention of the reader to the following points:
· If the Prophet had been a head of state, he would have appointed his successor or at least showed the method of election. A king of average understanding would have done so, let alone a man of the wisdom and intelligence of Mohammed.
· Muslims quarreled and fought each other to succeed the prophet because there was no method of election. The Prophet was silent on all the method of election because there was no throne or presidency.
· It is to be noted that when the Prophet mentioned the pillars of Islam, he never mentioned the state as one of them.
It is clear that the Prophet did not intend to form a state. It is even reported that the he said to his disciples : “You know better the affairs of your world.” Yet, the state is one of the most important affairs of the world. Education, health, public works, building roads, airports, communication, commerce, to name a few, are all affairs of the world, and not of religion. All religions declare that they defend justice, honesty and other moral principles. These ideals are directives and moral guidelines and can be embodied wherever they fit. However, to argue that there is specific code from God to run the affairs of the world is something which is not endorsed by Islam. A secular state of modest capabilities is far better than Mr. Bashir’s Islamic State, which is based on ignorance of Islam and distortion of all its principles.
Why the Blue Nile State in particular?
There are sound and good reasons to suggest the Blue Nile State for the commencement of a new era of independent Self rule and autonomous governments in northern Sudan.
As all the readers may be aware, that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) granted the Blue Nile State the right to Popular Consultation, which is essentially a form of Public Consultation under parliamentary supervision. This public consultation can ultimately end in the autonomy of the state if properly and wisely directed. The Blue Nile is one of the most geostrategic states in Sudan, sharing borders with Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, as well as having a rich folkloric heritage, and an ethnically and religiously heterogeneous population peacefully coexisting with one another. It is also the closest Sudanese state to the Horn of Africa.
The Blue Nile River State is characterized by lush greenery and an abundance of resources such as forestry, fishery, minerals (gold, steel), animal husbandry, and the Blue Nile River itself. Namely, the Blue Nile, along with its connecting streams, is the most important tributary of the Nile River. Other water resources include underground basins, natural springs, and a large annual rainfall. Furthermore, the Rosseris Dam which is located in Damazeen , the capital of the Blue Nile State, is the largest Dam in Africa, after the Iswaan High Dam. Not to mention that the region contains the most fertile virgin soils, making agricultural developments highly feasible.
The goals and objectives of the people of the Blue Nile state should be directed to utilize the Popular Consultation to achieve the following:
· The people of the Blue Nile are not satisfied by the rights granted to them upon the promulgation of the CPA, as it lies short of their aspirations.
· They aspire to form a new Sudan, based on equality, freedom of expression, independence of the judiciary, with an eventual cancellation of the Shari’a law and all other enactments which impede human rights and violates the constitutional principles.
· The people of the Blue Nile aspire to have complete control over their resources, instead of being marginalized by the Sudanese central government, since Sudan’s independence in 1956.
· The people of the Blue Nile aim to stimulate economic development through foreign investments and introduce drastic changes in the health and education infrastructure.
The people of the Blue Nile aspire to have a peaceful coexistence and friendship with all nations, which is not possible under the hostile nature of the present central government, which has links with many terrorist organizations. One should not forget that the present regime was once a safe haven for Bin Laden and some other professional killers.
The aspirations of the Blue Nile people are legitimate and the central government should be wise enough and grant the Blue Nile State its regional autonomy and self rule. The Blue Nile State can set an example to other states in Sudan, thus putting an end to the existing conflict in Darfur, Southern Kurdofan, and potential conflicts elsewhere in Sudan. The achievements of these goals will be possible only through a cultural revolution which radically changes the present mentality of the Sudanese people. Such an intellectual revolution entails the creation of a new social structure in which responsible citizenry and clarity of thinking co-exist in a violence-free environment.
The Badreldin Centre for Taweel Studies, a cultural centre based in Montreal, has launched an intellectual and peaceful campaign against religious fundamentalism in Northern Sudan, in a genuine effort to honour a deep-rooted and sacred obligation. Badreldin Centre is neither a political party nor a religious organization. It is a research centre solely devoted to self-knowledge through a new vision and insight for Taweel. The pursuit of such studies will ultimately open the door to individual freedom, liberation from all dogmas, eradication of violence, lasting peace and final redemption of mankind.
Badreldin Yousif Dafallah Elsimat 25-02-2010